Julia Gevaert

Julia Gevaert is developing a new imaging technique, Magnetic Particle Imaging


1. Welcome back to the TBCRU. Can you remind our readers who you are and tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi! My name is Julia Gevaert. Last year I was fortunate enough to receive a TBCRU studentship for my first year in the Medical Biophysics M.Sc. program, working under the supervision of Dr. Paula Foster. This year, I will be transitioning to the Ph.D. program to expand on my exciting research project of developing a new imaging technique called Magnetic Particle Imaging. This technique is being specially developed in our lab for looking at the way breast cancer spreads throughout the body so that we can target treatments more effectively to areas such as bone, lung, and brain.

2. As a senior researcher, why is the TBCRU Studentship Award important to you, and how does it allow you to advance your research?

This studentship award is important because it allows me to expand my project to mouse models, progressing this work towards real treatments and therapies for patients in the clinic. Growing up, my best friend’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, so this studentship is very meaningful to me because it motivates me to work hard towards the collective research goal of finding a cure.

3. In a few lines, can you remind us what you are doing and what problems you hope to solve with your research?

The motivation behind my research comes from the limitations of current techniques for tracking breast cancer cells in the body. We want to be able to accurately see where cancer is, and where it might spread to so that we can safely and effectively administer treatments to those areas without harming healthy tissue. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a great way to do this, but because of how the images are collected, we aren’t able to see cells that travel to areas such as the lungs, brain, and bone. My research project looks at using Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI), which can see those areas by using special iron particles that tag the cells and show up as bright spots in our images. This allows us to see where and how many cells are in the body.

4. Since we last spoke, have there been any changes to or any advancements in your research?

This past fall, our MPI system received a major software upgrade that allows me to change many different imaging factors. This will help us see lower cell numbers with higher resolution, which helps make sure we do not miss anything. Our lab has also published a perspective paper on MPI, focused on recent advancements and future possibilities of using MPI for cancer cell tracking.

5. Have you had an opportunity to present your research to your peer researchers? Was it at a national or international meeting or in some other way?

Over the last year, I have had the opportunity to present my research as a talk and poster at the World Molecular Imaging Congress, an international conference focused on the different imaging techniques and how we can apply them to different applications. This was my first international conference as a graduate student, and I was very excited to share my work. I have currently submitted two more abstracts to another international conference, and I hope to share my work there as well.

6. Did that presentation setting help you share your breast cancer research with the broader scientific community?

Absolutely – conferences and sharing your work are essential for feedback and learning other directions and applications for your research. Research is truly a collaborative environment, and the more team members you can share with, the further your research can go.

7. Did any of the feedback or conversations following your presentation help you and your research in any way?

The feedback and conversations from presenting this research certainly helped advance my project. It was an ideal setting to discuss some of the challenges I had been working on and get advice from experts in the field with suggestions of ways to overcome those problems.

8. Now that you have had some more time with your research, how do you think you will apply your research in a real-world situation?

I think my research will be useful for designing cancer treatment plans and developing cell-based therapies that directly target breast cancer cells in a real-world situation. Targeted treatments will ensure that only the cancer is being treated, with minimal effects on surrounding tissues. Hopefully, this will lead to more effective therapies with faster cures.

9. Tell us about your involvement in the Breast Cancer Society of Canada fundraising events (Dress for the Cause, Mother’s Day Walk)?

This was a unique year for us at TBCRU. We had to be creative with our fundraising due to COVID-19, so this year, we organized an online silent auction and virtual games night. We had over 30 people participate in the game’s night, and generous donations to our silent auction from local artists, photographers, bakeries and much more!

10. What about your participation in other Breast Cancer Society of Canada donor events or tours? How has that impacted your perspective on breast cancer research?

Being a part of the Breast Cancer Society of Canada events has really made me appreciate all the efforts and accomplishments of all those involved. It’s gratifying to be part of such a great team and see the collaboration between researchers, community members, partners, and BCSC members. It has given me perspective on how such different research projects and labs all come down to our shared goal of finding a cure.

11. What are you currently reading, watching or listening to outside of the lab?

Outside of the lab, I love watching the Bachelor on Mondays (for all the drama!) and seeing what new documentaries are streaming on Netflix.


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We’ll raise money for life-saving breast cancer research, together.

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Contact Charlene Politano today to get started.
Email: cpolitano@breastcancerprogress.ca
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There are many ways to fundraise – whether you want to create a competition or tournament, fundraise with your team, challenge your colleagues, host a pink party, have a bake sale or cook-off, the idea is to raise more for breast cancer research.

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Thinking about becoming a corporate partner of Breast Cancer Canada? Amazing. work with all types of organizations. We’ll help you deliver results which are measurable. National or local.

A partnership with Breast Cancer Canada is a win-win. It improves employee engagement, boosts morale, fosters a tighter culture. It raises your organization’s profile and demonstrates your support for breast cancer research. To customers. To employees. To suppliers. Most of all – it makes a positive impact for those affected directly by breast cancer.

We’ll raise money for life-saving breast cancer research, together.

Let’s talk about building your program!

Contact Dawn Hamilton today to get started.
Email: hello@breastcancerprogress.ca
Phone: 1-800-567-8767 

To make an online corporate donation, please click here.

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or more information, please contact Natalina Hamilton: hello@breastcancerprogress.ca


This is often called a bequest. It’s the simplest way to make a legacy gift. A gift in your will has no effect on your current income and your estate receives a charitable donation tax receipt. Here’s a sample of simple bequest wording : “To pay the sum of $_________ OR _______% of the residue of my estate to Breast Cancer Canada.”


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Register a significant difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer. Donate the proceeds of a registered account: Tax-free savings account (TFSA); Registered retirement savings plan (RRSP); Registered retirement income fund (RRIF). It’s a smart way to make a major contribution. Without reducing your current assets. Without subjecting the funds to probate fees. While reducing taxes on your estate through a donation receipt.

Making a gift like this is easy. Designate Breast Cancer Canada as the beneficiary of your registered account.  You benefit from the full use of your account(s) during your lifetime. We receive any remaining funds after your passing.

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Today, most securities are held electronically and are easily transferred from your brokerage account to our BCC brokerage account. Your Financial Advisor can make all the arrangements.

For more information, contact Natalina Hamilton: hello@breastcancerprogress.ca

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Volunteers are Breast Cancer Canada’s most important resource, and the backbone of our organization. From helping build our PROgress research to helping breast cancer patients, to supporting events, special fundraising projects and administrative tasks, our volunteers are dedicated to making a positive, life-changing impact.

We ensure our volunteers have the best possible experience and apply the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement.

You can help us end breast cancer by:

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Regional Hubs are an integral part of Breast Canada Canada. We connect communities and those committed to our mission to make the goal local. Together, we can save lives through advancing breast cancer research, coast to coast.

Connect to learn more about what is happening in your area: volunteer@breastcancerprogress.ca